Ah, the joy of an international break... With nothing else to do, the sports media resorts to all sorts of nonsense for our amusement. On the table for today we have a veritable smorgasbord of transfer rumors, dressing room strife, contract renewals, injuries, and international duty. YUM!
First off, Inter has 9 players on international duty:
Italy U21: Francesco Bolzoni - Austria U21 v Italy U21, international friendly (he got 45 minutes, the game was a 2-2 draw).
Brazil: Adriano, Julio Cesar, Maicon - Ecuador v Brazil, Brazil v Peru; World Cup qualifiers
Serbia: Stankovic - Romania v Serbia, World Cup qualifier; Serbia v Sweden, international friendly
Argentina: Samuel and Zanetti - Argentina v Venezuela; Bolivia v Argentina, World Cup qualifiers
Ghana: Muntari - Ghana v Benin, World Cup qualifier
Nigeria: Obinna - Mozambique v Nigeria, World Cup qualifier
(for those of you wondering, Zlatan is suspended for the Sweden v Portugal game so was not called up)
Well, the big news is that it looks like Mancini will be out for a month and Jimenez about 20 days.
Hopefully we will get one of them back before the end of the season. I feel a bit bad about Mancini - he seems like he was getting on well in training, plus he says he wants to stay and work for a first team spot.
Jimenez has not said outright that he wants to leave, although he is a bit puzzled that he is not being played more. I just thought it was that he could not stay off the injured list. I guess we will see come the end of April.
Oh, and remember Suazo? Well he has injured his left knee and needs surgery. He is only on loan to Benfica, so it may well be that Inter is liable for the medical attention and the rehab. Poor guy.
This is all about Esteban Cambiasso! He has renewed with Inter until 2014. If he finishes this contract, he will have been at Inter for a full decade. He had a press conference today (there was not a lot else going on) where he answered all sorts of questions like why he shaves his hair (it is tied to winning - so long as Inter keep winning, the head stays bald. I always thought it was to avoid the dreaded comb-over).
My favorite was when he was asked if he thought he would finish his career as the captain of Inter. He said: "No. In 2014 Javier Zanetti will still be on the pitch." Isn't that sweet?
Grazie, Esteban. I appreciate everything you do for the squad and your loyalty to the team.
TRANSFER RUMORS/DRESSING ROOM STRIFE
Well, first there is the elephant in the room (or, as some say, camel), Zlatan Ibrahimovic. After we bombed out of the Champions League, the pundits started up with the whole "Ibra is leaving" thing. Then, he said he was disappointed in an interview. But, the real bombshell was his comments after the Reggina game:
"I have a contract with Inter and I'm happy to be at this club. For now we are all concentrated on winning this Scudetto. At the end of the season we will see what happens."
Then the poop hit the fan. Next thing you know it was all about Bacelona this, Real Madrid that, and even talk of Manchester United. The figure being bandied about was 100 million pounds. Well, as it turns out, the whole thing is a media-concocted pile of guano. Ibra's agent, Raiola, has finally had enough, saying:
"There are no problems, the player has a great relationship with Jose Mourinho and with the club. Zlatan was disappointed after the Champions League elimination but he has never said that he wants to leave."
So there, Ibra is not going anywhere.
Same for Mourinho. He is already working on next year and he has no intention of quitting, saying:
“I don’t want to protect myself, win tomorrow and then leave my successor a team without potential. I’m working for Inter’s future."
Others are not so happy at Inter... Which leads me to poor Maxwell.
He is not happy and he doesn't care who knows it. Maxwell's agent, Mino Raiola (the guy really gets around) said:
"With Mourinho either you're Zlatan and he takes you to his home or if you're not Zlatan you're dead and that's not right from a coach's point of view. The relationship between Maxwell and Mourinho is finished."
He then suggested that Maxwell could move to AC Milan (although there has also been a rumor or three about Barcelona), saying:
"That's not a decision for Inter to take but the player's. We'll terminate his contract, we'll pay what has to be paid but we won't set one price for Milan and another for other clubs. All the big teams know how good this player is."
Well, that is a real shame. I have always liked Maxwell and I am sorry he is so angry. Still, if he feels he has to leave, I would hope he would at least do us the courtesy of going out of the country.
As for all the other rumors (choughAguero coughCruzToLazio), we will have time for all that later.
Hmmm, I wonder what they are talking about...